Mark 3:20
And the multitude comes together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
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(20) So that they could not so much as eat bread.—The graphic touch, as if springing from actual reminiscence of that crowded scene, is eminently characteristic of St. Mark.

3:13-21 Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. He had called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd, and they came unto him. He now gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. May the Lord send forth more and more of those who have been with him, and have learned of him to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work. Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go on with zeal in the work of God, must expect hinderances, both from the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, and need to guard against both.They could not so much as eat bread - Their time and attention were so occupied that they were obliged to forego their regular meals. The affairs of religion may so occupy the attention of ministers and others as to prevent their engaging in their customary pursuits. Religion is all-important - far more important than the ordinary business of this life; and there is nothing unreasonable if our temporal affairs sometimes give way to the higher interests of our own souls and the souls of others. At the same time, it is true that religion is ordinarily consistent with a close attention to worldly business. It promotes industry, economy, order, neatness, and punctuality - all indispensable to worldly prosperity. Of these there has been no more illustrious example than that of our Saviour himself. Mr 3:20-30. Jesus Is Charged with Madness and Demoniacal Possession—His Reply. ( = Mt 12:22-37; Lu 11:14-26).

See on [1413]Mt 12:22-37; [1414]Lu 11:21-26.

Ver. 20,21. There is no small dispute who are here called our Saviour’s friends, oi par’ autou, those who were of him, whether it signifieth his neighbours, the citizens of his city, or his nearer relations, those who belonged to the family of which he was (for he had some brethren that did not believe in him, John 7:5).

They went to lay hands on him, that is, to take him from the multitude, which pressed upon him by force, (for so the word signifies),

for they said, He is beside himself, exesth: various senses are given of this word, but certainly the most ordinary interpretation of it doth best agree to this place. They saw our Saviour’s warmth of spirit and zeal in the prosecution of that for which he came into the world, and did so well understand his person, or mission, and receiving the Spirit not by measure, that they took what he did to be the product and effect of a natural infirmity and imperfect head and disordered reason. The young prophet sent by Elisha was counted a mad fellow by Jehu’s comrades, 2 Kings 9:11; so was Paul by Festus, Acts 26:24, or by the Corinthians, or some crept in amongst them, 2 Corinthians 5:13. We are naturally inclined to inquire the causes of strange and unusual effects, and cannot always discern the true causes, and often make false guesses at them. I am not so prone as I find some to condemn these friends, or neighbours, or kinsmen of Christ, believing that they did verily believe as they spake, not yet fully understanding that the Spirit of the Lord in that measure was upon him, but through their infirmity fearing that he had been under some distraction, and charitably offering their help to him. The next words tell us of a far worse sense the scribes put upon his actions. And the multitude coming together again,.... Either the multitude that were about the door of this house; insomuch that there was no room about, nor any coming near it, Mark 2:2, or the multitude that came from different parts, and had thronged about him at the sea side, before he went up into the mountain: these understanding that he was come down from thence, and was returned to Capernaum, and was at Simon's house, flocked thither, in great numbers, to see his person, hear his doctrines, and observe his miracles;

so that they could not so much as eat bread; the press was so great, and their importunities so urgent, either to hear him preach, or have their sick healed, that Christ, and his disciples, had neither room nor opportunity to eat some food for the refreshment of nature; though it was very necessary, and high time they had, especially Christ, who had been up all night, which he had spent in prayer; and had been very busy that morning in calling and appointing his apostles, and instructing them what they should do.

And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
,[73] 21

[73] Before καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς οἶκον would be the place where Mark, if he had desired to take in the Sermon on the Mount, would have inserted it; and Ewald (as also Tobler, die Evangelienfrage, 1858, p. 14) assumes that the Gospel in its original form had actually contained that discourse, although abridged, in this place,—which Weiss (Evangelienfrage, p. 154 f.) concedes, laying decided stress on the abridgment on the ground of other abridged discourses in Mark. Nevertheless, the abrupt and unconnected mode of adding one account to another, as here by the καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς οἶκον, as well as the omission of longer discourses, are peculiar to Mark and in keeping with the originality of his work; further, it would be quite impossible to see why the discourse, if it had originally a place here, should have been entirely removed, whether we may conceive for ourselves its original contents and compass in the main according to Matthew or according to Luke. Ewald’s view has, however, been followed by Holtzmann, whom Weiss, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1864, p. 63 ff., and Weizsäcker, p. 46, with reason oppose, while Schenkel also regards the dropping out as probable, although as unintentional.—In respect of the absence from Mark of the history of the centurion at Capernaum (Matthew 8:5 ff.; Luke 7:1 ff.), the non-insertion of which Köstlin is only able to conceive of as arising from the neutral tendency of Mark, Ewald supposes that it originally stood in Mark likewise before καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς οἶκον, and that in Matthew and Luke it still has the tinge of Mark’s language, in which respect ἱκανός and σκύλλειν are referred to (but comp. Matthew 3:11; Matthew 9:36; Luke 3:16; Luke 8:49). Weiss, p. 161, finds the hypothesis of Ewald confirmed by the affinity of that history, with the narrative of the Canaanitish woman, Mark 7:24 ff. Holtzmann appropriates the reasons of Ewald and Weiss; they are insufficient of themselves, and fall with the alleged disappearance of the Sermon on the Mount.

Mark 3:20,[74] 21. Peculiar to Mark, but in unity of connection with Mark 3:22 f.

καὶ ἔρχ. εἰς οἶκον] The choice of the disciples, and what had to be said to them concerning it, was the important occasion for the preceding ascent of the mountain, Mark 3:13. Now they come back again to the house, namely, in Capernaum, as in Mark 2:2, to which also the subsequent πάλιν points back. De Wette is in error when he says that the following scene could by no means have taken place in the house. See, on the other hand, Mark 3:31 and Matthew 12:46. Hilgenfeld finds in εἰς οἶκον even a misunderstanding of Matthew 13:1.

The accusation ὅτι ἐξέστη, Mark 3:21, and that expressed at Mark 3:22, ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει, are analogous; and these accusations are the significant elements in Mark,[75] with whom Mark 3:22 still lacks the special historical information that is furnished by Matthew 12:22 f. (comp. Mark 9:33 f.); Luke 11:14. In the connection of Mark alone the retrospective reference to Mark 3:10-12 is sufficient; hence it is not to be supposed that in the primitive-Mark that cure of demoniacs given by Matthew and Luke must also have had a place (Holtzmann). See, moreover, Weiss, l.c. p. 80 ff. Mark, however, does not represent the mother and the brethren as “confederates of the Pharisees” (Baur, Markusevang. p. 23); their opinion ὅτι ἐξέστη is an error (not malicious), and their purpose is that of care for the security of Jesus.

αὐτούς] He and His disciples.

μηδέ] not even, to say nothing of being left otherwise undisturbed. Comp. Mark 2:2. According to Strauss, indeed, this is a “palpable exaggeration.”

ἀκούσαντες] that He was again set upon by the multitude to such a degree, and was occupying Himself so excessively with them (with the healing of their demoniacs, Mark 3:22, and so on).

οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ] those on His side, i.e. His own people. Comp. Xen. Anab. vi. 6. 24; Cyrop. vi. 2. 1; Polyb. xxiii. 1. 6; 1Ma 9:44. See Bernhardy, p. 256. By this, however, the disciples cannot here be meant, as they are in the house with Jesus, Mark 3:20; but only, as is clearly proved by Mark 3:31-32, His mother, His brethren, His sisters.

ἐξῆλθον] namely, not from a place in Capernaum (in opposition to Mark 3:20), but from the place where they were sojourning, from Nazareth. Comp. Mark 1:9, Mark 6:3. It is not to be objected that the intelligence of the presence and action of Jesus in Capernaum could not have come to Nazareth so quickly, and that the family could not have come so quickly to Capernaum, as to admit of the latter being already there, after the reprimand of the scribes, Mark 3:23-30; for Mark does not say that that ἐξῆλθον, and the coming down of the scribes from Jerusalem, and the arrival of the mother, etc., happened on the same day whereon Jesus and the disciples had returned εἰς οἶκον. On the contrary, that intelligence arrived at Nazareth, where His relatives were setting out, etc.; but from Jerusalem there had already—when Jesus had returned to Capernaum and was there so devoting Himself beyond measure to the people—come down scribes, and these said, etc. This scene, therefore, with the scribes who had come down was before the arrival of the relatives of Jesus had taken place.

κρατῆσαι αὐτόν] to lay hold upon Him, to possess themselves of Him. Comp. Mark 6:17, Mark 12:12, Mark 14:1; Matthew 26:4; Jdg 16:21; Tob 6:3; Polyb. viii. 20. 8, al.

ἔλεγον] namely, οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ. After ἐξῆλθον it is arbitrary to supply, with others (including Ewald): people said, which Olshausen even refers to “the malicious Pharisees.” So also Paulus, while Bengel thinks of messengers. Let it be observed that ἔλεγον, Mark 3:21, and ἔλεγον, Mark 3:22, correspond to one another, and that therefore, as in Mark 3:22, so also in Mark 3:21 there is the less reason to think of another subject than that which stands there.

ἐξέστη] He is out of his mind, has become frantic; 2 Corinthians 5:13Mark 3:20. The traditional arrangement by which clause b forms part of Mark 3:19 is fatal to a true conception of the connection of events. The R. V[20], by making it begin a new section, though not a new verse, helps intelligence, but it would be better still if it formed a new verse with a blank space left between. Some think that in the original form of Mk. the Sermon on the Mount came in here. It is certainly a suitable place for it. In accordance with the above suggestion the text would stand thus:—

[20] Revised Version.20–30. How can Satan cast out Satan?

20. the multitude cometh together again] i. e. at Capernaum, which, had now become our Lord’s temporary home.Mark 3:20. [Eng. Vers. 19] Ἔρχονται, they come) Jesus with His new family [This relation of Mark follows, not the order of time, but the change of places; comp. Mark 3:7; Mark 3:13; Harm. p. 311].—εἰς οἶκονto the house,” rather than into the house; comp. Mark 3:21; Mark 3:31.Verses 20, 21. - The last clause of ver. 19, And they went into an house, should form the opening sentence of a new paragraph, and should therefore become the first clause of ver. 20, as in the Revised Version. According to the most approved reading, the words are (ἐξῆλθον), He cometh into an house, or, He cometh home. There is here a considerable gap in St. Mark's narrative. The sermon on the mount followed upon the call of the apostles, at all events so far as it affected them and their mission. Moreover, St. Matthew interposes here two miracles wrought by our Lord after his descent from the mount, and before his return to his own house at Capernaum. St. Mark seems anxious here to hasten on to describe the treatment of our Lord by his own near relatives at this important crisis in his ministry. So that they - i.e., our Lord and his disciples - could not so much as eat bread; such was the pressure of the crowd upon them. St. Mark evidently records this, in order to show the contrast between the zeal of the multitude and the very different feelings of our Lord's own connections. They, his friends, when they heard how he was thronged, went out to lay hold on him; for they said, He is beside himself. This little incident is mentioned only by St. Mark. When his friends saw him so bent upon his great mission as to neglect his bodily necessities, they considered that he was bereft of his reason, that too much zeal and piety had deranged his mind. His friends went out (ἐξῆλθον) to lay hold on him. They may probably have come from Nazareth. St. John (John 7:5) says that "even his brethren did not believe on him;" that is, they did not believe in him with that fuiness of trust which is of the essence of true faith. Their impression was that he was in a condition requiring that he should be put under some restraint. Again

Glancing back to the many notices of crowds in the preceding narrative. This reassembling of the multitudes, and its interference with the repast of Christ and the disciples, is peculiar to Mark.

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